Most of us have heard of people going to a psychologist or undergoing psychotherapeutic treatment. If we are not one of them, we may be happy about it at first. We may even distance ourselves from these people and think that we are not “sick” and that it will never happen to us. But is that really the case? Do we have to be diagnosed as “ill” to be able to make use of a help offer and proﬁt from it?
Mentally ill — a diagnosis
In our health system it works like this: only those who are diagnosed as “mentally ill” receive professional support in the form of psychotherapy ﬁnanced by the health insurance. A doctor or trained psychotherapist can diagnose a person with, for example, a depressive episode, an anxiety disorder or a personality disorder on the basis of precise criteria in a manual for mental illness. Thus, the diagnosis and the disease concept are always the most important factors for receiving support. Therefore, the assumption that people who go to a psychologist are sick is still very common.
Support only for the “sick”?
But what about all the people who find themselves in difficult phases of life, who are confronted with challenging situations or who are unhappy or dissatisfied for various reasons? Can’t such people also use support?
Perhaps you have experienced this yourself: sometimes in our lives we are confronted with situations that are more difficult for us to master than others. This can also happen quite unexpectedly. We lose a loved one, experience an accident, or suddenly a big argument develops in the family that is not so easy to solve. Or we notice that we are dissatisfied with something, but don’t know how to change it.
Why don’t you think about what you do in situations that you can’t handle on your own? For example, what do you do when you want to assemble a wardrobe but you don’t have the right screwdriver? — Maybe you ring your neighbour’s doorbell and ask if he has the right screwdriver. If you then get it, you will probably have the new wardrobe in your room a few hours later.
So we ask other people for help. And in fact, this usually leads to us achieving our goal. If that works, why shouldn’t we accept support when we face mental challenges?
Every one of us can use support
For each of us, accepting support can be useful and helpful at certain points in our lives. We don’t always have all the right tools at hand to cope with situations or experiences in the best possible way and to manage to come out of them stronger on our own. Nor is it necessarily easy to work on our behaviour, experience or thinking and change something about it. When we realise that we cannot reach our goal on our own, this is a good time to accept support.
The difference between mental challenges and other everyday problems is that a neighbour or a friend cannot always help us. Because even they may not have the right tools. Psychologists, counsellors or coaches, however, have a whole toolbox from which they can search for the right tools for you and show you how best to use them.
Accepting support, recognising resources, using them in a solution-oriented way.
When we accept support, for example from a psychologist, it is not about handing over responsibility to that person. Rather, the psychologist will help us to find out what we need so that we can feel better again. Ultimately, however, we ourselves are the ones who have to implement the change.
We all have resources and strengths that we can use to deal with difficult situations. But we are not always aware of them. Sometimes we are so caught up in our habits and thought patterns that we do not even consider alternative assessments and behaviours. An objective view from the outside can open up new possibilities that we have not thought about before. We can then use the new tools and possibilities in a solution-oriented way to actively work on our situation and our Beﬁnden.
“Healthy” people have to pay — a disadvantage?
If we look for a psychologist, counsellor or coach on our own, we naturally have to pay the costs ourselves. The decisive advantage here, however, is timely intervention, in the best case even prevention. In this way, it is very likely that we can prevent a mental illness from manifesting itself in the first place, that we need lengthy therapeutic treatment or that we are unwell for a long period of time. With an early response, just a few sessions can be enough to decisively improve your situation and your Beﬁnden. You can continue to use the tools given to you independently and return to them again and again in the future.
Money invested in our health does not only provide us with a good feeling in the short term. Addressing our mental and emotional state, our evaluations, thoughts and behaviours can help us achieve greater well-being in the long term. If we invest money in our physical health, or in other things that are good for us, then we should invest just as much money in our mental health. After all, together with physical health, it forms a decisive basis for our quality of life.
Accepting support: a sign of strength and willingness to change
So be brave and seek support where you need it. There are now countless ways to access support services. There are psychologists, counsellors and coaches with the most diverse specialisations on the market. The number of online offers is also growing, which can be used especially for short-term counselling and solution-oriented support. The wide range of offers gives you the opportunity to choose someone who can help you in your personal situation in the best possible way. You are also welcome to take a look around our pool of counsellors. Perhaps you will find a counsellor there who is right for you.
It is a great strength when we admit that we cannot manage something on our own or when we decide to work on ourselves. Self-reﬂexion and willingness to change are the first important steps towards positive developments and a higher quality of life in the long term.